“In the End, It Took Me a Dictionary to Find Out the Meaning of Unrequited” #8

When I posted the Sandie Shaw track “Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now” in The Chain this week, I made reference to a track by The Smiths.

That track was, of course, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”. Can you see what Morrissey, a massive fan of 60s female pop like Shaw, did there?

It would be too easy for me to post another song by The Smiths in this series, so instead, a song by an act who’s never featured here before, who I forever link to that song by The Smiths for two reasons.

Firstly, the lyrical content. Here’s the lyrics to “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”:

“I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
But heaven knows I’m miserable now
I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

In my life
Why do I give valuable time
To people who don’t care if I live or die

Two lovers entwined pass me by
And heaven knows I’m miserable now
I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

In my life
Why do I give valuable time
To people who don’t care if I live or die

What she asked of me at the end of the day
Caligula would have blushed
“You’ve been in the house too long” she said
And I naturally fled

In my life
Why do I smile
At people who I’d much rather kick in the eye

I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
But heaven knows I’m miserable now
“You’ve been in the house too long” she said
And I naturally fled

In my life
Why do I give valuable time
To people who don’t care if I live or die.”

Which, as you will see shortly, has much in common with today’s song.

The second reason is because in 1987, The Smiths were the subject of a full episode of arts program The South Bank Show. The programme, after Melvyn Bragg has nasalled his way through the introduction, begins not with a Smiths song, but with today’s choice, which then segues into “This Charming Man”.

Like this:

You can watch the whole program, split over seven parts, on YouTube, should you be so inclined (that link should allow you to watch them in sequence).

That show has special memories for me; in 1987 I was in the upper sixth form, and in the process of applying to go to college. One application required that I submitted a critique of a recent television program, and it was The Smiths’ edition of The South Bank Show that I wrote about.

On the strength of that, I was invited to an interview at the college in question, which I managed to make a right royal cock-up of, which I’ll go into another day.

So here’s the song in question, a more straight-forward lyric than the saucy innuendo-laden ones the singer is better known for:

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George Formby – Why Don’t Women Like Me?

Turned out nice again, ‘int it?

More soon.

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Acoustic Afternoons

Now, I know when I started this series, I said I would try to avoid just posting stuff from MTV’s behemoth “Unplugged” series, but sometimes I have to go there, because the some of the songs posted are just too darn good to ignore.

Such is the case with Eric Clapton’s appearance on the show.

I know it’s not exactly cool to like Clapton, but as regular readers will have noticed, that’s not a factor I really ever take into consideration when posting stuff here.

See, Clapton’s “Unplugged” album is pretty much perfect, featuring not only acoustic versions of some of his better known tracks, but also a whole host of covers of old folk and blues records which have influenced him. And, of course, it’s technically quite breath-taking.

So I’m going to widen this series out to include not only artists performing acoustic versions of their own records, but acoustic versions of other people’s songs, because, frankly, some of these are just too good to miss out on a technicality.

Here, then, is Slowhand performing a version of perhaps his best known song (although he didn’t record it under his own name originally, and, sadly, he forgoes the extended piano heavy play-out from the original album here) and one originally by Jesse Fuller.

I imagine you’ll be able to tell which is which:

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Eric Clapton – Layla

Eric Clapton – San Francisco Bay Blues

Budding guitar players: the second tune is a great one to play along to.

Kazoo players, budding or otherwise: that goes for you too.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

A couple of weeks ago, in the Claps, Clicks & Whistles series, I featured a song which had appeared on the soundtrack to a film I’d recently watched, called ‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore’.

Well, here’s another tune from the same soundtrack, by The Texas Sapphires.

The Texas Sapphires blend their country and rock roots (singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter Billy Brent Malkus grew up listening to classic country but started off in music by playing in several punk bands hailing from the Baltimore area; he also co-wrote “Tension Head” on the Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Rated R’ album) to play a concoction of vintage hillbilly, honky-tonk, and rock’n’roll.

But worry not, your ears are not about to be affronted, for today’s song is pure Country, as you can probably guess from it’s title:

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The Texas Sapphires – Bring Out The Bible (We Ain’t Got A Prayer)

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

I’ve been greatly enjoying the re-runs of BAFTA winning BBC sit-com ‘Detectorists’ recently, and am very happy to learn that a third series is imminent.

If you’re not familiar with (it’s on Netflix if you fancy catching up), it follows Andy and Lance, members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club, which, granted, doesn’t sound particularly amusing. But it’s a wonderful ensemble piece, perfectly acted by all concerned, written and directed by, and starring Mackenzie Crook (as Andy), who you’ll probably know better as Gareth Keenan, the ex-Territorial Army paper salesman and butt of many jokes in ‘The Office’.

And it’s the theme tune to ‘Detectorists’ that I’m featuring tonight; a lovely little folk song that every time I’ve watched the show I’ve promised myself I’d track down, and then forgotten all about until the next time it was on. But finally, I’ve got round to seeking it out.

If you like the songs by Nic Jones that have cropped up on The Chain (editions #8 and #29 in case you’re interested) than I reckon you’ll quite like this too.

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Johnny Flynn – Detectorists

More soon.